It is the mission of Indiana University School of Medicine to advance health in the state of Indiana and beyond by promoting innovation and excellence in education, research and patient care.
IU School of Medicine will lead the transformation of health care through quality, innovation and education and make Indiana one of the nation’s healthiest states.
- Excellence that is reflected in the innovative conduct and advancement of education, research and patient care.
- Respect for individuals who are affiliated with, or come in contact with, Indiana University School of Medicine: staff, students, residents, fellows, faculty, staff, partners, communities, patients and families.
- Integrity that embraces the very highest standards of ethical behavior and exemplary moral character.
- Diversity that is reflected in actions that appreciate all individuals.
- Cooperation that is manifested by collegial communication and collaboration.
IU School of Medicine is guided by a strategic plan that serves as a multi-year blueprint to advance research, education and clinical care.
IU School of Medicine is committed to maintaining an academic and clinical environment in which faculty, fellows, residents, students and staff can work together to further education and research and provide the highest level of patient care, whether in the classroom, laboratory or clinics. The school’s goal is to train people to meet the highest standards of professionalism and work in an environment where effective, ethical and compassionate patient care is both expected and provided. To this end, the school recognizes that each member of the medical school community must be accepted as an individual and treated with respect and civility.
Diversity in background, outlook and interest is inherent in the practice of medicine, and appreciation and understanding of such diversity is an important aspect of health care and scientific training. As part of that training, the school strives to inculcate values of professional and collegial attitudes and behaviors in interactions among members of the school community and among school members and patients, their families and community members at-large, that accommodate difference, whether in age, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, social, cultural, religious or ethnic values.
Certain behaviors are inherently destructive to any educational or professional relationship. Behaviors such as violence, sexual harassment or inappropriate discrimination based on personal characteristics must never be tolerated. Other behavior can also be inappropriate if the effect interferes with professional development. Behavior patterns such as making demeaning or derogatory remarks, belittling comments and destructive criticism fall into this category. On the behavioral level, abuse may be operationally defined as behavior by medical school faculty, residents, students or employees that is consensually disapproved by society and by the academic community as inappropriate, exploitative or punishing. Examples of such behaviors are physical punishment or physical threats, sexual harassment, discrimination of any type, episodes of psychological punishment (e.g., public humiliation, threats and intimidation, removal of privileges), grading used to punish rather than to evaluate objective performance, assigning tasks for punishment rather than to evaluate objective performance, requiring the performance of personal services, and intentional neglect or intentional lack of communication. Such behaviors are not tolerated at IU School of Medicine.
The Embodiment of Professionalism
To function as a premiere medical school and continuously improve, IU School of Medicine requires exceptional and committed individuals. A working and learning culture that is based upon the school’s articulated core values and guiding principles is critical to attracting, retaining and nurturing members of the IU School of Medicine community. For this reason, and to warrant the trust of patients, families and society at large, all members of the IU School of Medicine community are committed to fostering and embodying professionalism.
While the history of medicine and science is replete with calls for professional conduct, increasing attention is being focused on professionalism as the national and global health care system adapts to a number of societal, scientific and financial stresses. Many professional groups are renewing their emphasis on and measurement of professionalism, including the American Board of Internal Medicine, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and IU School of Medicine Curriculum Council.
In Academic Medicine, Herbert M. Swick, MD, identifies desirable behaviors of professionalism to include conduct that demonstrates an individual:
- Subordinates their own interests to the interests of others
- Adheres to high ethical and moral standards
- Responds to societal needs, reflecting a social contract with the communities served
- Evinces core humanistic values, including honesty and integrity, caring and compassion, altruism and empathy, respect for others, and trustworthiness
- Exercises accountability for themselves and for colleagues
- Demonstrates a lifelong commitment to excellence
- Exhibits a commitment to scholarship and to advancing their field
- Deals with high levels of complexity and uncertainty
- Reflects upon their actions and decisions
Swick also states that professionalism must be grounded in what individuals actually do and how they act, both individually and collectively. He asserts that professionalism consists of “those behaviors by which we demonstrate that we are worthy of the trust bestowed upon us by our patients and the public, because we are working for the patients’ and the public’s good.” Members of the IU School of Medicine community echo and affirm these principles.